Following Wednesday’s game, general manager Terry Ryan was asked if the two sides were working on a deal:
Ryan was asked if the team is in talks with Morneau.
“No, we are not,” he said. “I think we’ll probably let that play itself out through the course of the year.”
Given the Twins’ front office penchant for avoiding contract talks during the season, the revelation by Ryan saying that the team is not discussing a contract with Justin Morneau’s people is completely unsurprising. Does it mean that it won’t happen?
“It depends on the situation. If a player wants to do it or an agent wants to do it, we’ll certainly listen,” Ryan said. “We’re rarely apt to go and approach it, although we did last year with [reliever] Jared Burton. It happens on occasion. I think we did it with Burton last year, I’m not positive. But through the years we’ve always been flexible enough, depending on the guy and the situation, we’d listen or approach the person.”
Morneau’s 2013 season has been a bit of a mixed bag. Last night was just his third home run of the year, putting him on pace for 10 home runs on the year according to Fangraphs.com’s ZiPs projections. Yet, his 40 runs batted in leads the team thanks to a .329 batting average with men in scoring position. Additionally, he has had 217 baserunners on while hitting - which is the sixth-highest in the American League - and gives him ample opportunity to collect RBIs.
Given his age, his expiring contract and earning power if the Twins were to give him a qualifying offer, it appears to be a foregone conclusion that Morneau will be shipped out at the deadline. Trading him may net a C or B-prospect and will clear some of his payroll. That said there does not seem to be an immediate heir apparent for first base. Chris Parmelee and Chris Colabello are options. There will be some inexpensive free agent option to use as a placeholder, but Morneau could be as good of an option as any of them if available at a $7M price range.
What do you do?